Growth hacking is a popular term in the startup space today. The term was initially coined by Sean Ellis, the first marketer at Dropbox.
If some of you are still unaware or unsure about growth hacking, here is the technical definition :
Growth hacking is a process of rapid experimentation across marketing channels and product development to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow a business.
This term is generally linked with startup marketing. There are a lot of growth hackers in the market today doing amazing marketing experiments and achieving extraordinary results.
To assist growth marketers, there are multiple tools in the market today that you can put to use. Some of them are even free to use.
In this post, we are going to talk about 21 FREE growth hacking tools that will
- Help you research leads better.
- Convert users into leads.
- Boost your content marketing.
- Build beautiful landing pages.
- Test your landing pages.
- Run in-depth marketing analytics.
- Improve your SEO
- Improve your social media presence.
- Build great surveys and collect feedback.
- Manage customer service and engagement.
Let’s dive into these tools:
#1 Researching Quality Leads
Tool Name : Hunter
Available as : A Browser Extension
Pricing : 150 free researches per month.
I am in love with Hunter ( previously known as email hunter). I have been in the B2B marketing space long enough to know that lead generation is one of the most critical components for success.
And it all starts with the right research.
Let’s understand this with an example of our own company- Marketing Masala.
As a growth marketing company working with growing businesses across 4 continents, we are always looking forward to collaborate with funded startups who are looking for more growth.
We understand that the CEO’s or CMO’s would be the main decision makers. In order to reach out to them, we need to narrow down their social media profiles and sometimes, email addresses. This is the time where Hunter comes in.
It integrates smoothly with your browser and for LinkedIn profiles, it works like a charm.
#2 Turning Visitors Into Leads
Tool Name: SumoMe
Major Use : Lead magnets
Pricing : Free for using a bunch of lead magnets.
Sumome works like a charm for me. At Marketing Masala, we promote a lot of content and resources. SumoMe helps us to engage users for our resources and loop them in as “top of funnel” leads. Here is an example of how we promote our eBooks using this scroll popup on Marketing Masala.
Tool Name : Mailchimp
Major use : Email marketing
Pricing : Free for the first 2000 subscribers.
Mailchimp is another great tool which come with features like email capture, lead forms, email campaigns and automation workflows. Here’s how we use it to promote our eBooks + nurture leads from these signups.
#3 Content Marketing
Smart marketers understand that content marketing is one of the best tools to generate leads/sales in the long term. A successful content marketing campaign involves just two things:
- Building great content.
- Promoting that content aggressively to the right audience.
I have compiled one tool for each of the above points. Here we go
Tool Name : BuzzSumo
Major Use : Find popular content in a niche
Pricing : Free for 5 search results. Plus 14 day free trial as well.
Whenever I have to decide what topics to write on, I use Buzzsumo to understand what’s most popular in the industry. This gives me an idea of what the trend is around.
Note : Don’t use ideas from Buzzsumo directly. Understand the trends and build something that you would be great with.
For example, if I want to write a post about startup marketing, here is what what Buzzsumo would suggest me :
This gives me an idea that the most shared content around startup marketing is about tools, plan and strategy for the same.
I did some more research and saw that not a lot of folks have written about free startup marketing tools.
And that’s one of the reasons why you are reading this post 🙂
Tool Name : Quora
Major Use : Answering industry specific questions
Pricing : Free for life
Quora is the underdog in marketing. As of now ( 2017), the platform is not littered with ads or low quality content. People ask questions seriously and are interested in serious answers.
This gives us a lot of window to answer questions and promote our content. Here is what I do
- Prepare a kickass blog post on a topic that my industry cares about.
- Answer all questions on Quora relating to the same.
- Mentioning a subtle link to my post for people who want to get more details.
Using the same technique, I have become one of the most viewed writers on Quora for multiple categories.
#4 Building and Testing Landing Pages
Tool Name : Instapage
Major Use : Building high converting landing pages.
Pricing : Free for 30 days.
Landing pages are an important part of getting your conversions right. A beautiful landing page can help you convince more people, decrease your cost of acquisition and leave a positive image in your customer’s mind.
I have been using Instapage for a while to build landing pages. It gives me all the right elements in terms of design, integration and ease of use. Here’s a look into Instapage’s editor :
Picture credits : RahulGhosh.ca
Tool Name : Optimizely
Major Use: A/B testing landing pages.
Pricing : Freemium model with pricing starting from $17/month
I generally use Optimizely to conduct landing page tests where I edit one (or more) elements of a page to see how the conversion ratios change. The results are amazing at times!
#5 Competitive Analysis
Tool Name : SimilarWeb
Major Use : Analysing the traffic of competitiors.
Pricing : Freemium model
Similarweb has been a life save for me. It helps me analyse how competitors are performing, what their weak points are and where we can improve.
It also helps if you want to reach out a website ( for backlinks, PR, collaboration etc) to see how credible and big/small the platform is.
Similarweb comes with a super easy browser extension to use and analyse traffic. Here, take a look.
# 6 CRM Tools
Name Of Tool : Zoho
Major Use : CRM application with a lot of other business features as well.
Pricing : Freemium model ( 10 free users)
Zoho was one of my first choice when I started managing leads. It’s interface is easy to use where I can set lead status, mark comments and integrate the platform with other applications as well.
Tool Name : Streak
Major Use : CRM for gmail
Pricing : Freemium model.
One of the first reasons why I started using Streak in the first place was that it integrates with my gmail.
My inbox became an easy way to outreach to and manage leads. You can install the stream extension and it integrates with your gmail. You can organise people into boxes and your gmail looks like a pretty CRM :
#7 Customer Survey And Feedback
Tool Name : SurveyMonkey
Major Use : Conducting online surveys
Pricing : Free for 10 questions and 100 responses per survey.
Market research and customer feedback are an important part for every growing business. At times, you might be launching a new product or collecting feedback for an old one.Survey Monkey’s online surveys are easy to build and setup.
Survey Monkey comes to the rescue with great forms, response management and other features.
#8 Customer Management
Tool Name : Intercom
Major use : Customer service, email management and live chat.
Pricing : Freemium model
Intercom is a lovely tool. It lets you chat with site visitors, manage leads, interact with customers, track their activity on your platform and more.
The free plan tells you who your customers are, which ones are active, which ones are slipping away and what you can do about them. It’s really powerful.
#9 Marketing Analytics
Tool Name : Facebook Analytics For Apps
Major Use : Analyse users and their behaviour.
Pricing : Free
Facebook analytics is a powerful tool, especially when you are talking about app users. It lets you analyse traffic, sources, build funnels, send notifications and much more. Facebook Analytics is a complete package.
Tool Name: Mixpanel
Major Use : Marketing Analytics
Pricing : Free for 1000 profiles.
Mixpanel is a brilliant tool to measure what your users are doing, how retained they are and what you could do to improve the same. It comes with amazing features like retrospect funnels, retention metrics, A/B testing and push notifications.
#10 SEO Backlink Analysis
Tool Name : OpenLinkProfiler
Major Use : Backlink analysis
Pricing : Freemium.
OpenLinkProfiler is one of the few free tools that offers backlink analysis. You can check backlinks, their count, influence score, anchor texts and more. This tool has been the backbone of many of my decisions in SEO.
#11 Social Media Management
Social media marketing has formed a critical part of any marketing campaign today. The same holds valid for startups as well. Here are some tools that have worked out great for me when it comes to social media management.
Major Use : Scheduling content on social media channels.
Pricing : Freemium
Buffer and Hootsuite are both great when it comes to social media content. They help you schedule content across various networks. The free plan of both covers connecting 3 social media profiles.
I am a bigger fan of Hootsuite as it also lets me manage interactions happening on social media.
Major Use : Designing social media graphics.
Pricing : Freemium
Both the tools are great for designing social media content. I’d suggest you to use Canva as it has been around for a longer while and has a lot of features integrated.
Major Use : Increasing your social media following
Pricing : Freemium
Both the tools allow you to follow and unfollow people on Twitter ( crowdfire on Instagram too). By using them daily, you can build a healthy follower base of targeted users.
I have managed to gain over 5500 twitter followers using the same.
There are a lot of tools out there which can help you hack growth for your startup. Depending on your needs, you can select the ones that suit you from the above. I’d love to know what tools worked out for you. Shoot me a message in the comments.
Feel free to get in touch for any marketing queries @ contact[at]marketingmasala[dot]com